SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner reaffirmed his status as the world’s number-one horse, dominating the field in the stretch to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward.
Jockey Florent Geroux changed tactics, allowing Gun Runner to sit off the pace instead of setting it, while Neolithic led through fractions of :23.20, :46.56, and 1:10.45. Making his move through the far turn, the 4-year-old son of Candy Ride emerged onto the stretch as the clear leader under a full head of steam, and Geroux hand-rode the superstar colt to the wire in a final time of 1:47.43 for the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
“That was better than the Whitney,” Geroux said, alluding to Gun Runner’s wire-to-wire dominance in the Grade 1 Whitney. “Stronger. Faster. Overall, he is just getting better, and he is doing good on the track. And I don’t think he is 100% cranked up yet. I really do think he has another step forward with him.”
Rally Cry came home second, 9 3/4 lengths behind the winner. Neolithic, War Story, and Discreet Lover completed the order of finish.
Gun Runner’s latest victory pushed improved his record to 17-10-3-2 with career earnings of $5,738,500. The Woodward was most likely his last before the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 5 at Del Mar.
“He stepped up,” said Asmussen. “He was carrying everybody, all of us, under these circumstances. We all know what’s happened over the past couple of weeks. This was our last race heading into the Breeders’ Cup and I thought it went as well as we could have hoped. If we can get out to California in good shape, we’ll hope to finish off the year.”
Gun Runner paid $2.70 to win and $2.10 to place, while Rally Cry paid $2.70 to place. There was no show betting.